- Programme: Advanced Corporate Finance
- Nationality: Greek
- Job Post-programme: Group Financial Controller at GasLog
Before joining Danaos, an internationally renowned shipping company, in 2008, Achilleas was Financial Reporting Manager in Coca-Cola Hellenic's corporate office. He has a Bachelor in Economics from the University of Macedonia and an MSc in Project Analysis Finance and Investment from the University of York. Achilleas attended the Advanced Corporate Finance programme in November 2013.
The current economic situation is very challenging, and the debt markets continue to be in difficulty. At Danaos, we were always looking for new solutions and were very aware that traditional ways of working needed to be revisited. I came to the Advanced Corporate Finance programme as I was keen to refresh my knowledge on latest financial thinking, to find creative ways to finance new projects and to learn more about how to refine existing projects in order to stay buoyant in today’s environment.
I’m a great believer in continuing education, irrespective of your age or your position. It’s crucial to keep up with new ideas and theory, and to learn how to apply that to real-life situations. I was looking for a good, strong, theoretical update on the options and the structures that are available in corporate finance. I also wanted a thorough grounding in the practices and new methodologies that have emerged since the recent financial crisis. London Business School, with its unrivalled reputation, was my first choice.
The programme was extremely relevant. It taught me a huge amount about complex finance tools and valuation techniques, but perhaps more importantly, it inspired me.
When I came back to the office, I was full of new ideas about the mechanics of structuring a hybrid financing instrument, combining both debt and equity. I was deeply impressed by the professionalism of the faculty, who offered excellent analysis of each subject, from how to value companies to raising equity in global markets. They really encouraged and opened up discussion and debate within the group.
The debates we had about the IPO process in the US capital markets and the importance of corporate governance were particularly interesting. They shed light on the changes in traditional bank financing since the recent crisis and highlighted possible new ways of working. We debated the mechanics, the complexities and the challenges of new methods, shared our experiences and came to see how methods of valuation could be improved.
Similarly, the guest speakers were superb. They were very knowledgeable about their subject areas and their presentations were a definite highlight. One in particular, about valuation of a company that was under review to be acquired in Pakistan, struck me – it was an excellent introduction to an area of valuation I was not familiar with.
Valuation differs so much according to needs and requirements, and this presentation gave me a new perspective. It clarified the detailed research and data validation required on various elements critical to the valuation process. It also highlighted the importance of considering all the financial, political and regulatory risks.
The materials we were given to take home were excellent and I still refer to them today. I often apply the thinking to my work issues, for example the efficiency of capital structure, peers’ valuation and the use of multiples in valuations.
Change and progress takes time, but the Advanced Corporate Finance programme taught me new ideas and new ways of thinking. The programme not only increased my proficiency in valuating new projects, but it also increased my overall confidence, enhanced by the networking opportunities among the exceptional participants.
I felt very comfortable being back at school, and in the London Business School environment; so much so that I am looking into signing up for another LBS programme.